Tirunelveli Temple

By Sanjeev Nayyar esamskriti@suryaconsulting.net | 2016

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We left Thiruchendur about 4.30 pm and reached Tirunelveli about 7 pm. After a quick darshan we headed to Tenkasi. This might have been entrance in earlier days. Cars pass through. It was peak traffic so barely managed to click this. The temple is called Arulmigu Nellaiappar Temple.

Main entrance. Has a small gopuram. Temple is situated in the heart of the city. It is a twin temple dedicated to Parvati and Shiva. Rare jewels, Golden Lily Tank, Musical Pillars and a hall of thousand pillars are worth seeing. In the dark we got only darshan.

Temple entrance, centre is Nandi. Note wood images on either side. " According to the puranas, both the Gopurams were built by Muluthukanda Rama Pandiyan and the other important parts of the temple were constructed by Nindraseer Nedumaran who reigned in the 7th century A.D."

Think this is made in wood. Can see images of man playing musical instrument, animals, warriors, warrior with horse face etc. "Originally the Nellaiappar and Kanthimathi temples were 2 independent structures with spaces in between. It was in 1647 A.D. that Thiru Vadamalaiappa Pillaiyan, a great devotee of Siva linked the two temples by building the "Chain mandapam".

Images of warrior lower level, upper level is a women. One woman has her stomach coming out more like lady pregnant, two ladies in dancing pose, a lady in what looks like a short lower garment.

Images lady with daughter, warrior with bow, warrior on horses, warrior with shield, top most level is mythical animal YALI

Temple corridor, note stone images on left. "There is also a shrine to Vishnu near the sanctum, signifying the belief that Nellai Govindan (Vishnu) visited Tirunelveli to officiate the divine marriage of Shiva and Kantimathi."

A close up of two images. As we drove in the town towards the temple felt very nice and got positive vibrations. Wish we reached here during daytime. Hope to do again the temple of Madurai and around.

One of the smaller shrines. "Little to the south of Swami Nellaiappar Gopuram stands the Gopuram of Arultharum Kanthimathi Ambal temple. It was here, where composer Sri Muthuswami Dikshithar composed the carnatic song ''Sri Kanthimatheem'' in Hemavathi ragam."

View from sanctum side. Pillars with Yali in stone on both sides. "The Copper Hall of Dance is a brilliant work of art, and is housed within the inner precincts of the temple."

Golden Lily Tank. Missed seeing a huge Nandi.

Think it is the Amal temple on the right. Missed seeing The Musical Pillarsin the Mani Mandapam which produce sound in various pitches when struck and 1000 pillared hall.

Do not know what this image represents think of a Nayanmar since Shiv mandir. "The temple, believed to be built by the Pandyas in the 13C was entirely remodelled and extended in 17C - 18C. Some of the inscriptions in the temple dates back to 950A.D."

Close up of gopuram. "Kanthimathi Nellaiyappar Temple is the well known twin temple dedicated to Goddess Parvathi (Kanthimathi Ammai) and Lord Shiva ( Nellaiyappar - the Protector of Paddy)."

Gopuram right side view. "The temple is also known as one of the 5 Pancha Sabhas (dance halls) of Nataraja (lord Shiva); the others being at Chidambaram, Madurai, Tiruvalankadu and Kutralam."

Top - Kirti Mukha in centre to keep away evil spirits. "Thirunelveli also is one of the five places where Lord Shiva is said to have displayed his dance and all these places have stages/ ambalams."

HALWA of Tirunelveli is very very famous. Driver Velu holding. Lots of halwa available outside temple. To read temple history Click here

We saw large number of Christian Educational Institutions in town. St Xavier Institute has a Centre for Ambedkar Studies and Democracy Forum whatever that means. Today was a tough day for driver Velu. Morning Rameshwaram, then Dhanushkodi, Tuticorin, Thiruchendur, Tirunelveli and night halt at Tenkasi. All of us were exhausted by end of day.